Forerunner: The Second Venture

~ 2nd Novel in the Forerunner Series by Andre Norton



Synopsis ~

Write-up from the SFBC edition dust jacket ~

Simsa is that which no one expected to find: a living member of the race called Forerunner, the race whose antique artifacts have mystified humankind ever since they reached the stars.

Raised in the Burrows to be a beggar and a thief, Simsa has within her the spirit of the Elder One, and all the knowledge of her ancient race - but in a way not fully accessible to her, a way that is as much a curse as a blessing.

Taken into space by humans who seem intent on treating her as a mystery to be unraveled, perhaps willing to kill her in the process, Simsa has made her escape - only to find herself on a planet of roasted rock, of sand rivers concealing a ravenous life form, and of a lush, green valley where an unintelligent but inscrutable alien race may hold the key to Simsa's mystery.

Then Thom, the one human whom Simsa trusts, albeit unwillingly, arrives in pursuit of her. He may intend to take her back into the deadly peril of experimental curiosity - or to help her find the freedom she must have to pursue the mystery of the Elder One within her. But first she must decide whether to save his life.

FORERUNNER: THE SECOND VENTURE is an epic adventure from Andre Norton writing at the top of her form. Andre Norton is "The Grande Dame of Science Fiction" (Life Magazine). She has won virtually every award in the fields of science fiction and fantasy, including most recently the Nebula Grand Master of Science fiction Award, given for a lifetime achievement in that field.


Write-up from the back of the TOR paperback edition ~

Sisma, the beggar whose mind held the ancient legacy of the Forerunners, had escaped her claw-and-fang life in the Burrows, with the off-planet Rangers. But the Rangers wanted her in captivity for study by historians.

So Sisma and Zass, her winged hunting zorsal, escaped again, taking a stolen lifeboat to an unknown world. A desert where shape shifting creatures lurked beneath the sand, where Zass and Sisma's hunting skills, psychic powers, and strange link to the Elder One in Sisma's mind were their only survival weapons.

Then Thom, the Ranger who saved--and perhaps betrayed--Sisma, crashed on the planet. Together, they realized that a mysterious, mind-threatening and possibly monstrous power had found them... And only the Elder One could help.


Write-ups from fans ~

Simsa and her Zorsal, accompanied by Thom, find themselves betrayed by the spacers they had hired passage from. The spacers attempted to steal the Ancient Forerunner knowledge from Simsa's mind, leading her to rebel against their confinement and to escape. The spaceship wound up crashing on a hostile planet, and Thom, injured, is rescued by Simsa against her feeling that he had been part of the betrayal. Now they are stranded on a hostile planet and must again trust each other for their very survival. ~ SL

Simsa, whose body contains two distinct personalities, boards a spaceship at the urging of her companion Thom Yan. Using telepathy, she discovers that two crewmen have sinister plans for her, and she steals a lifeboat and escapes to a desolate arid planet. Wandering around, she encounters several deadly animals and plants and a friendly colony of insectoid creatures that help her and Zass, her pet Zorsal to survive. Thom comes looking for her, but she thinks that he had betrayed her, so, her "Elder One" personality teams with the friendly natives to knock his flitter from the sky. Feeling guilty, the "Burrows" Simsa rescues Thom just before he would have been eaten by a monster. After a while, she sends him back to his ship and goes exploring and discovers some of the "Elder One's" history. A flitter shows up with Thom and a Zacathan who explain the situation and ask her to go with them. ~ PG


Reviews ~

Kirkus Reviews ~ Issues: 1985
Veteran Norton's second novel about the Forerunners (Forerunner, 1981, paperback), aliens of vast scientific and technological accomplishments who vanished before humans began to colonize the galaxy. Black-skinned, silver-haired Simsa is the only living Forerunner; having been raised in the vicious, dog-eat-dog ""Burrows"" by humans, she thinks like a human--but deep in her mind lurks a powerful Forerunner Elder One who comes to the fore whenever danger threatens. She also has a tool-weapon activated by thought. So, believing that her nemesis, the human investigator Thom, intends to vivisect her, Simsa flees in a spaceship's lifeboat--and lands on a dull planet inhabited by some insipid aliens. After various unexciting adventures (she rescues Thom from a crash, then sends him off with some false memories), she stumbles upon an old Forerunner hide-out, passes an ancient test of initiation, and finds that her human and Elder One selves have fused. And finally, she comes to trust Thom and his alien-reptile associate (it was all a misunderstanding, you see). Skimpy on plot, with murky motivations, colorless characters, and stiff, unwieldy writing: altogether a dreary little nonentity. 


Various reviews ~ For more info and other listings see Articles Over the Years

1985 by Carl B. Yoke in Fantasy Review, September
1986 by John Gregory Betancourt in Amazing Stories, January
2018 by Judith Tarr

 Bibliography of English Editions ~

  • (1985) Published by TOR, HC, 0-312-93256-1, 978-0-312-93256-5, LCCN 85233476, $13.95, 254pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser {Orange Paper Boards}
  • (1985) Published by SFBC, HC, # 02413, $6.98, 181pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser {Red Paper Boards, # 02413 on Rear of Dust Jacket, # P037 on Page 180}
  • (1986) Published by TOR, PB, 0-812-54747-0, 978-0-812-54747-4, LCCN 85-233476, $2.95, 254pg ~ cover by Victoria Poyser - Canadian ISBN 0-812-54748-9, $3.50
  • The Forerunner Factor (2012) Published by BAEN, PB, 1-451-63808-6, $12.00, 544pg ~ cover by Tom Kidd ~ Omnibus containing Forerunner (1981) & Forerunner: The Second Venture (1985)


Non-English Editions ~

  • (1999) Published in Poznań, Poland; by Wydawnictwo Poznańskie, 83-717-7033-2, 192pg ~ translation by Piotr Kuś (Peter Schmidt) ~ cover by Agentur Luserke ~ Polish title Triumf Simsy [The Triumph of The Sims]


Russian Omnibus Editions ~

  • (1994) Published in Zelenograd, by Zelenogradskaya Books, 5-863-14033-X, HC, 384pg ~ cover by D. Avvakumov ~ Russian title Предтеча [Forerunner]


    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 3-196
    • "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 197-382


  • (2001) Published in Moscow, by Eksmo, 5-04-008643-1, HC, 384pg ~ cover by Igor Varavin ~ Russian title Предтечи [Forerunners]


    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunners" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 5-196
    • "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 197-381


  • (2015) Published in Moscow by Eksmo, 9785699766109, HC, 992pgs ~ cover art by A. Dubovik ~ Russian title Звёздные изгнанники [Star Exiles] ~ Limited to 3000 copies


    • "Moon of Three Rings" as "The Moon of Three Rings" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov, pp. 5-220
    • "Exiles of the Stars" as "Star Exiles" ~ translation by O. Kolesnikov, pp. 221-442
    • "Voorloper" as "Wandering along the Vour" ~ translation by D. Arsenyev & O. Kolesnikov, pp. 443-608
    • "Forerunner" as "The Forerunner" ~ translation by D. Arseniev, pp. 609-802
    •   "Forerunner: The Second Venture" as "Forerunners: Second Adventure" ~ translation by D. Arseniev,pp. 803-989

View the Original contract

View the original copyright app.

View the 2004 Russian contract



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